New York: A new research review confirms that people with diabetes have a somewhat increased risk of colon cancer -- but the reasons for the connection, and what should be done about it, remain unclear.Combining the results of 14 international studies, researchers found that overall, people with diabetes were 38 percent more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer than those who were diabetes-free.There was also a 20 percent increase in the risk of rectal cancer, though that appeared to be confined to men.The findings, reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, do not prove that diabetes directly contributes to colon cancer in some people.The results come from observational studies in which people with diabetes were found to have a higher risk of colon cancer than those without diabetes. In most of the studies, the researchers adjusted for at least some factors that might explain the link -- like older age, obesity and smoking -- and the diabetes-cancer connection remained.However, there could still be other explanations."I think we can make the statement that diabetes is consistently associated with colorectal cancer," Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved the study, said in an email.
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